Latest Entries »

Apparently, Putin is now making demands in return for an end to the hostilities. I’ve been reading he’s willing to end hostilities if Ukraine give up the land he wants (Crimea), recognize the two areas of Ukraine Putin has decided are now “independent states” (Donetsk and Luhansk), and change their Constitution to institute permanent neutrality of Ukraine – meaning that Ukraine would never be permitted to join NATO or any other group of nations that would assist them if they’re ever under attack again.

He’s basically acting like a guy who tries to rob a bank he thought would be easy to steal from, and then, says he’s willing to stop shooting the hostages he took, if the bank gives him half the money in the vault and a clear getaway path.

I don’t know if Zelensky is willing to give up land for peace, or agree to some neutrality promise for it. I’m pretty sure he’s aware that if he does, there will still be no guarantees that Putin won’t try this again, and soon, making up similar excuses and lies to justify the unjustifiable.

And who the hell is Putin to make demands? He planned on being in and out of Ukraine within a day or two. But Ukrainians

don’t want him. Even the ones Putin was claiming he wanted to “liberate” greeted his army with Molotov Cocktails and gunfire. They don’t want his ‘liberation.’

And what about all the damage this unwarranted attack has wreaked all over Ukraine? What about the lives and property lost?

And what kind of message does it sent to Putin, or any other dictator who would use similar tactics for a land grab?

Giving Putin what he wants after he destroyed your country in an unprovoked attack, displaced millions and killed thousands of your people, would only entice him to do it again the next time he feels an itch he needs scratched.

Putin needs to be shown that he is no one to make demands of sovereign nations. He, and all his enablers, within Russia and abroad, need to pay for this. With their lives or with their riches, I don’t care.

Putin needs to be held accountable for his war crimes. His Oligarchs need to be held accountable for enabling him. And members of government in other countries who cleared the path for him and made him feel confident in their support of his actions. or who conspired with him, need to be held accountable.

It’s time for Evil people to be held accountable for their evil deeds. We all want peace – but guys like Putin will never let us live in peace. Time for the world to take out the trash

Fight the Power

Do you have any idea how brave you have to be as a Russian citizen to protest, in Moscow?

Do you know how against the war the thousands who are right now in Pushkin Square protesting, have to be, to brave arrest and all that goes along with it in Russia?

Putin does NOT have the support of Russians in Russia.

Putin does NOT have the support of the “Russian Speaking Eastern Ukrainians” in Ukraine.

Putin does NOT have the support of the majority of the world.

I think Putin realized he had no choice but to shit or get off the pot.

Putin was trying to play the long game here, starting with disinformation campaigns in the US and other western countries.

He meddled in a few elections (notably, ours), to try and weaken Democracies.

He bought a weak minded leader, a ‘useful idiot, Trump, specifically with the intent of weakening the United States’ relationships with her Allies and to destabilize NATO.

And for a while there, the plan was working.

But then we elected Biden.

Putin was not expecting that. But I’m sure he believed that his misinformation campaigns, along with the indoctrinated likes of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingram, would help him to weaken Biden’s Presidency.

And on the surface, that looked like it was working as well. But Putin is a realist. And folks tired of the fact-free fantasies of the conspiracy theorist lunatics stopped playing nice. Reality was seeping in, and while things were getting better for the US, things for Putin were going to worse if he didn’t act soon.

For the last year and change, Biden has been reaffirming and strengthening the relationships Trump tried to break. NATO countries saw Trump for what he was – a temporary mental illness within the Democratic sphere – a malignant cancerous tumor – that once removed, would bring, if not the country as a whole, then at least our leadership apparatus, back to it’s senses.

Putin had to put up or shut up – now.

He couldn’t wait for NATO to grow stronger. He couldn’t wait for the US to fully recover from the Trumpian disease. He couldn’t wait for the world to recover from the pandemic we all suffered from.

That’s why he struck now.

I think he may actually be surprised at how much resistance he is facing – How united so many countries are against him – How united so many of his people are against him.

The history of Russia is full of megalomaniacal leaders who destroy their own citizens for personal gain. Putin is the most recent in that long line of bad actors who misrepresent the will of the good people who live in that country.

I hope this Hitleresque attack of Putin’s ends quickly, and much the same way Hitler’s did.

I pray the people of Russia are finally able to elect someone who will represent them better on the world stage.

I pray that soon they can have peace and freedom and freedom to cry out for peace.

Winning Isn’t Everything

If you don’t want to know what happened in the Olympic Female Figure skating free skate (which was aired in full, in real time, on the USA network – they re-air the top 18 or 12 competitors in prime time on NBC) keep scrolling.

I just got done watching the full program. Aside from who won, and, it’s not who you think, I am still processing what I just saw.

Yes, two of the Russians made it to the podium. And since there actually was a medal ceremony, you can already figure out, Valieva didn’t make the top 3.

She fell, a lot.

I watched her program, this same one, when she competed in the team event, which she performed without the drugs that were found in her system in December, and she performed it flawlessly.

This time, her heart wasn’t in it. She looked as if she just wanted to get it over with. I can’t imagine the mental toll on this 15-year old kid.

And that sick and twisted bitch of a coach needs to be banned from ever coaching again.

Yeah, two of her skaters made the podium. But are the medals worth it after what she has done to these girls to get them there? All that mental and physical abuse these girls went through?

Alexandra Trusova, who won a silver, with a technical score that was off the charts, but who has zero artistry (her artistic score was 35 points lower than her technical one), was throwing a temper tantrum because her teammate, Anna Shcherbakova, who had a lower technical score won, largely based on how beautifully she interpreted her program artistically.

They actually showed Trusova, crying, flailing her arms around, and saying ‘I’m not going out there (to the podium). I don’t want it. I hate this. I hate everything. I’m never going out there.’

Some old Russian guy kept telling her ‘nye hochish, nu nada.’ Meaning ‘you don’t want it, but you have to.’

This is what they do to these girls. Anything that isn’t gold, is a disgrace.

Forget that you just beat 23 other women from all over the world, you couldn’t beat your teammate, so you suck.

That, in addition to the abuse these girls get, the starvation, the constant scrutiny over every ounce of weight – they’re afraid to drink water for fear their coach won’t let them skate or will kick them off the team if they gain an ounce of weight.


Their parents aren’t allowed to be around them during competition season.


This woman claims she needs to be tough because that’s how you produce winners.

This is beyond just being tough – this is child abuse.

Meanwhile, when Kamila came off the ice, what we saw and what was said were two different things. The coach had her arm around the girl, who was crying, and she just blasted away at her, critical of this girl, who SHE failed by making her take a drug that she didn’t need to take (as was evidenced by her performance in the team event and all the other competitions where she skated clean).

This kid was put into this situation. Her failure to produce the gold that was expected of her by this monster, was not on her. She is a child, a human being, expected to be a robot.

And the court of arbiters for sport, the CAS, who allowed her to compete despite the failed drug test is also to blame here. They should have suspended her as they were asked to by the IOC. She could have proven herself in four years at 19.

There was one member of the Russian coaching team who was kind to her when she got out of the kids and cry area. She told Kamila ‘don’t worry. It’s over. You will skate again and it will be okay. This isn’t the end. You will skate again.’

If I were this girl’s parents, I’d leave Russia. Go to a neighboring country, or leave Eastern Europe altogether. Get her some mental assistance because this whole situation took its toll and you need to be mentally fit as well as physically fit to do what she does. Get her a good coach who isn’t a monster, if she indeed wants to compete again, and let her prove to this coach and the world, that she can win without being abused.

Beyond all that, Shcherbakova did skate beautifully. But there was no one congratulating her. She sat there, for a while, alone, in the winners lounge, looking lost and stunned. She had just won the Olympic gold and everyone was paying attention to Trusova throwing a tantrum because in her mind, the silver medal was a total loss.

I’ve been watching figure skating for as long as I remember. And even the drama of the Kerrigan/Harding situation, where neither won gold (Oksana Baiul won the gold, Kerrigan won silver), wasn’t this bad, this deflating.

Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze, the coach, needs to be permanently banned from all figure skating. The team doctor, Filipp Shvetsky, who has already been a part of an Olympic doping scandal with the Russian Men’s Rowing team, also needs to be banned from the Olympics. They both need face the harshest penalty available – $1 million fines and up to 10 years in prison – for what they did to this girl.

Honestly, to me, even that would be too light of a penalty. They both deserve worse.

That said, there were some highlights. Some of the performances were glorious.

American figure skater, 16 year-old Alyssa Liu, who came in 7th, had a beautiful, joy filled program. This girl will be a contender in 2026. Mariah Bell, who skated flawlessly to ‘Hallelujah’ had one of my favorite programs of the competition (and no, it’s not just about the song, lol), came in 10th.

And one of my favorite performances was You Young, from South Korea, who came in 6th skating to “Les Miserables.”

Rounding off the top three was Higuchi Wakaba, from Japan, who skated beautifully as well, and accepted her placement with the grace and poise of an Olympic athlete.

I love figure skating. I watch competitions when I can in between Olympics. This entire situation has left it’s mark. And while I look forward to the pairs events, and the gala, I can’t help but feel the Russians and their underhanded, relentless need, to come out first, no matter how dirty their tactics, and with zero care as to the lives of their athletes, have sullied this sport, and all others. And that’s just really sad and unfair.

The IOC, CAS and all other athletic entities really need to take a hard look at this situation. The banning of the Russian flag and anthem from podium events clearly had taught the Russian Olympic committee nothing.

Something needs to change.

On Thin Ice

Folks keep trying to equate what happened to Sha’Carri Richardson with the Kamila Valieva situation.

Look I can see why folks want to point out racist aspects here. Initially, I also thought ‘yeah, what the hell?! This is some racist shit right here!’

But then I decided to look the facts behind the two situations.

While, I absolutely agree, racism in the Olympics is definitely a thing, there is more here than meets the eye.

  • The decision to not allow Sha’Carri to compete in the Olympics was made by the United States Olympic committee. She was not allowed to join the team because she tested positive during the Olympic trials.
  • The decision to allow Valieva to compete was made by the Court of Arbitraters for Sport (CAS)- after they were actually asked to suspend Valieva by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) – which is the protocol used in order to suspend an athlete from competing once they’ve been granted a place on a team.

So right there, the people making the decisions were not the same people. If the USA had allowed Sha’Carri on the team, and all the results had been the same, it would be a different story.

  • Sha’Carri was 20 years old, I believe, at the time of her incident. She was a grown woman with agency. And yes, she was going through some seriously devastating times and wanted to calm down. But as she said in her own statement, she knew what she was doing. She smoked weed (which we all know is not a performance enhancing drug for athletes), which is a banned substance.
  • Valieva is a 15 year-old girl. And while in the USA, 15 year-olds are known to mouth off and have the right to say ‘no’ to authority, that’s not the case in Russia. If her coach (who is an abusive monster), or the team doctor (who has already been accused in a doping scandal involving the Russian Olympic rowing team) gave her some pills and told her to take them, she had to do it. The drugs in question were a combination of three drugs – one that is banned, two that are not – when taken together give an athlete added endurance. She didn’t ‘accidentally’ take her grandfathers medication, anymore than that joint you found in your kid’s pocket belonged to their friend.

In truth, Valieva never should have been allowed to join her team. But the Russian Olympic Committee doesn’t care about the rules. But since she was allowed on the team, the IOC and CAS, should punish the ROC.

But it’s important to see the intent and and take in to account who made the choice to take a banned drug, verses who took a banned drug that was given to them by an authority figure.

Richardson wanted to calm down during a tumultuous time in her life. Valieva needed to obey her handlers.

Valieva should never have been allowed on the team – but suspiciously, the tests results weren’t released until after she was already in Beijing – even though she tested positive from a test taken during the Russian trials – on December 25th.

For now, she is being permitted to compete, but not to medal. If she makes the top three, which she likely will, neither she, nor the other two who make the top spots, will be given a medal until the current investigation is completed.

Yes, it’s unfair. It’s unfair to all the skaters who worked tirelessly to skate clean. Whose parents called the Olympic committees within their countries to make sure whatever cold medicines they gave their kids were not going to harm their chances of competing via a failed drug test. It’s unfair to all future athletes.

It’s also really unfair to Valieva and her teammates, none of whom deserved to be abused by the adults given control of their lives because they showed promise as potential medalists in their country.

But it’s not the same as the Richardson situation – there is no equating the two.

You can’t just look at two female atheletes who failed a drug test and end the comparison there without looking at the full story.

And while some wish to vilify Valieva as a ‘cheater’ and make assumptions about her principals, we are overlooking the real criminals in this sad story.

The real criminals here are the people who would give a healthy athlete drugs with a list of side effects a mile long, drugs that could damage her organs and vital systems, just because they wanted to guarantee a medal she was likely going to win anyway because she has been working her entire life to be the best in her sport.

I’m sad for her. And I’m sad for everything Richardson went through. They are both phenomenal athletes and I hope they both get to compete and win in future Olympics without any clouds hanging over their heads.

In the meantime, I will watch all the figure skating competitions and the gala and route for my favorites, and hope for a fair outcome from this investigation, which would include the ROC being held accountable for their cheating and Valieva comes back in four years to earn her medals without vile assholes ruining her body so they can take credit for her hard work.

She shouldn’t be allowed to take any home this year though.

The current state of GOP ethos towards teaching history is intentionally harmful. If you teach history based on ‘differing perspectives,’ rather than facts, because facts make people feel bad, and it’s all about feelings – then everything becomes irrelevant.

If you teach ‘excuses’ then no one wants to do better.

And the GOP doesn’t want to do better. They want to make history irrelevant so that no one learns from it. They see that kind of ignorance as a path to regaining and retaining power. And that is absolutely all they care about – power.

History isn’t supposed to be about ‘feelings.’ History is supposed to be an accurate retelling of events. If that retelling makes one feel bad, then maybe that teaches the person learning it a lesson, no?

Through the teaching of history, we learn where we came from. We learn about past mistakes made by societies, including our own, that had harmful consequences. And some of us actually try to learn from it so we don’t make those mistakes again. Because history has some painful lessons folks need to learn so that they can do better in the future.

How many Germans growing up in Germany today had to come to grips with the fact that their ancestors were likely members of the Nazi Party? They don’t shy away from teaching the horrors of the Holocaust in Germany just because little Greta may feel bad that her great grandpa helped set a Synagogue on fire. They teach her about her nation’s past, and all the horrors, so that her generation and those that follow, don’t repeat what her great grandfather’s generation did. They learn all about what their ancestors did in the Holocaust.

And PS: every child in Germany knows exactly who Hitler was, who his generals were, and what they did, without ever seeing one statue on public grounds or one Nazi flag flying anywhere in the country.

My apologies to the snowflakes who are sad that their kids have to learn the facts about what this country has done in its past – to slaves, to indigenous peoples, to Jews, to Chines immigrants, to every ‘other’ that has come to our shores whether voluntarily, or not – because maybe if we taught history accurately, we wouldn’t continue to do the same damned thing every time we have a wave of new immigrants.

The GOP wants to teach ‘opposing views’ because they fear white kids may feel bad? Oh cry me a flipping River.

How about instead we teach, accurately, how every wave of immigration has been treated by this country? I remember being taught THAT perspective in HS – that despite what is written on the base of the Statue of Liberty, every wave of immigrant ever to hit these shores was treated horribly – Irish, Italian, Russian, Jewish, Chinese…

Truth be told, being treated poorly when your ancestors came here may be the one thing that unites anyone who wasn’t an original settler here.

The idea of the ‘other’ being the cause of your life sucking has been a scapegoat used by those in power forever. It’s how so many in Germany were led to turn on their neighbors, and the GOP is only the latest power hungry group of assholes using that concept now to distract their base from the reality that they themselves are the cause of their own damned problems.

And don’t even get me started on how, until relatively recently, women, regardless or race or religion, were treated in this country. Should we teach opposing view points on how it was okay for women to have zero autonomy or rights, even as early as fifty years ago? You know, because heaven forbid little boys should feel bad that girls were treated like property in this country back when their grandparents or parents were growing up?

We can still love this country and take pride in the process we have made, while learning about the bad things we did in the past. Because learning about these things that make us ‘feel bad,’ is how we ensure we do better and continue to evolve as a society. And real love is understanding all the flaws, and seeing all the improvements and wanting to do better.

History should be taught accurately, no matter how much reality hurts. It’s the only way people learn. If we don’t learn, we, as a society, are screwed.

I was wondering if I should post my 9/11 story. I’ve posted it several times over the last 20 years, and figured, maybe I shouldn’t – not this year.

But then a couple of folks asked me to…so I feel maybe it’s still relevant, especially on THIS anniversary.

Twenty years

I still can remember everything, as if it happened yesterday. What I saw. The fear I felt. The subsequent anger I felt. And the smell that seemed to just stick to all of downtown New York City for years after the attacks.

A little over two years ago, I was lucky enough to be re-employed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation – the same company I worked for back on 9/11. I had left in 2004, and all but regretted having done so because no matter where I worked in the years after, nothing compared to the sense of purpose I felt being a part of EDC.

At the time of my return, the company was still located on William Street, just a couple of blocks down from the World Trade Center. Four months after my return, EDC moved to its new location – across the street and adjacent to the WTC – right next door to the park where I stood watching in horror on 9/11 as the top of the North Tower, already hit by the first plane, bled smoke into the blue sky, and right on the spot where I made my turn to head to the office as the second plane hit the South Tower.

Every day, I see those two locations, and marvel at the resiliency of the city I call “home.” It’s amazing what we have built there – and I’m amazed to be a part of the company that helped make that happen. People from all over the world come to visit the Freedom Tower and to stand by the memorials in the footprints of where the two buildings once stood. Companies, much to what the naysayers in the aftermath of that horrible day predicted, have come back to create workspaces in the buildings there. There is life again there, where once there was a gaping hole of smoke and debris. There is joy, even among the sadness of remembrance of all those we lost in the course of a day full of terror.

One thing I can say – New York City always bounces back. Those who keep calling it ‘dead’ must be tired of being so wrong so often.

For those who have asked, here’s my 9/11 story.

Back in 2001 I lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and worked three blocks away from the World Trade Center. My train stop coming into Manhattan was across the street from the North Tower.

My plan to catch an earlier train than usual was thwarted by my more immediate desire to look good for our monthly board meeting. I remember running in my three-inch platform heels and cursing my vanity as I watched the train leave the station. I didn’t realize at that moment how lucky I was. You see the train I took back then left the station every twelve minutes. Had I made the train I ended up missing, I would have likely been walking up the stairs to street level as the first plane hit The North Tower. 

Instead, I caught the next train, which had me arriving in Manhattan shortly after the North Tower had been hit.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t know any of this. I just knew I was running late and I needed to get to the office before the Board Meeting started.

During the ride into the city, we were stuck between Brooklyn and Manhattan for a few minutes. I remember all the passengers, including myself, being annoyed – cursing the MTA – a favorite pastime of all passengers running late for work.

There was no announcement until we arrived at the first stop in Manhattan – Whitehall Street – and all they said was:

“Due to a Smoke condition, we will be bypassing the Courtland Street station.  For the Wall Street area, please use the Rector Street or City Hall Stations.”  Everyone looked irritated. It seemed back then that every week there was a “Smoke Condition” at the Courtland Street Station.

Usually, it meant a garbage can was on fire or some stupid kid was pulling some stupid prank effectively delaying the trains for what amounted to nothing, leaving harried employees irritated, and late for work – But not this time.

I got out at Rector Street because it was closer to where I worked than City Hall – annoyed that I would have to walk a few extra blocks in heels.

When I got out of the station, I could smell the smoke. I walked up to street level and saw smoke and fire coming from the North Tower and paper wafting down to the ground from the building as well. All I could think was, “oh no, not again.” I apparently said this out loud because a lady passing me by stopped to say, “oh no, it was just a freak accident – a small jet or something flew into the tower – it’s very weird – they think maybe the pilot had a heart attack.”

Now mind you, I was suspicious – Hey, I was there in 1993 too. But I decided to just go on to work so I started making my way in the direction of the WTC. Downtown can be a bit difficult to navigate because it’s not the nice little neat grid that the rest of Manhattan is, so I was trying to use the most familiar path I knew. I got to Zucchotti Park, which was full of people staring up at the Tower – some were crying. I looked up as well, but was mindful of the time, because again – I had a meeting.

I know I walked a little further and then, closer to the South Tower, I made a right to head towards my job, all the while hearing many folks talking in disbelief about the ‘freak accident.’ I walked three steps in the direction of  my building, placing my back to the burning Tower, when suddenly, I heard what I can only describe as very loud blasts – it sounded like something was blowing up.

I, along with countless people, started to run. 

At this point I remember thinking that maybe the plane that had flown into the North Tower exploded (later, I learned that, in fact that noise was the sound of the South Tower being hit). I was also, at that moment, thinking “don’t fall” for fear I’d be trampled.

Once I made it to my building on William Street, I could see my co-workers staring up in disbelief in the direction of  the North Tower. We had a very good view of that tower from the corner of our building. One of my friends, having noticed me, out of breath, and I’m sure disheveled, asked me if I was okay.  As I began to nod my head “yes,” I put a hand through my hair to push it out of my face and noticed there was glass in it. I, also at that moment, felt glass down my back. As one friend handed me her orange juice, another started to pick the glass out of my hair. I was a little freaked out at that moment, but not nearly as panicky as, should I ever have imagined myself in that situation, thought I’d be. I looked up towards the tower to see why folks had started gasping and noticed fairly large figures falling from the area above the smoke.  It took a while for it to register that those were people throwing themselves out of the tower.

I realized at that moment, that whatever the situation was, my parents needed to know that I was fine. No one’s cell phones were working, so I went upstairs to try the landlines. I managed to reach my father’s answering machine.  One of my friends had offered to let me come to her apartment in the Village but I declined her offer, saying: “No offense, but I’m getting off this Island even if I have to swim.” Another one of my co-workers was in her office crying and I looked in to see if she was okay. She said that the Pentagon had been hit too. Clearly these were no freak accidents.

And then we started hearing rumors of other planes.

I had decided I was going to cross the Brooklyn Bridge with three of my co-workers. We all agreed to meet in the lobby by the elevators. I got downstairs and met up with two of the three ladies I was going to walk home with. I told them I wanted to let the co-worker who had offered me to stay with her in The Village know I was going with them instead.  She and another co-worker were out in front of our building next to the revolving doors.  As I walked towards them, the building began to shake, and the lights began to flicker on and off.  We heard a huge rumble and lots of crashing noises. 

The folks milling outside ran into the building and we all ran towards the side door. I linked hands with the two women who had been waiting for me and we ran outside along with the crowd. I was the last in our human chain and looked behind me. I saw a huge cloud of smoke heading our way. I tried to yell to them that we’re better off inside the building. They didn’t hear me. I broke off the chain and ran back into the building. I found out later that another co-worker HAD heard me and followed me inside. She said that had she been caught up in that cloud of smoke she most likely wouldn’t have made it, as she was asthmatic.

Once the initial brunt of the cloud of smoke that once was The South Tower passed, all those inside the building walked out to the street. It was eerie. You couldn’t see or hear anyone. The smoke/dust was so thick that you could be right next to a person, and they would sound as if they were far away. I could vaguely hear crying and I swear I heard my own heart beating. For the first time, I was truly scared. I thought I was never getting home.  I tried to keep myself in check though, as I tried to make my way to the South Street Seaport.

I turned left on Pearl Street. The smoke/dust on that block seemed to have lifted a bit and I recognized a familiar face from work.  He took one look at me and said, “are you okay?” and suddenly I couldn’t control the tears anymore and whimpered, “I want to go home.”   He asked me where home was, and I said “Brooklyn.”  He was from Brooklyn too and told me that he was looking for another one of our co-workers and that once we found him, we’d all go home together.

The third person found us pretty quickly (they had told each other where to meet), and we headed for the Seaport. At that time I worked for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and we were working on moving the Fulton Fish market to the Bronx.  The guys I was walking with were working on that deal so the folks at the fish market let us go into their offices for a quick rest before we started out to the bridge.

The folks in that office were very nice to us and kept trying to clean off my bag, my skirt, my shoes – giving me wet paper towels to wipe off my dust covered face. All I wanted was a working phone line. I HAD to get in touch with one of my parents to let them know I was STILL okay.  While we were there, the news was on, and they were talking about rumors of other planes and were trying to confirm a plane crashing in Pennsylvania.

At that moment I felt a sudden urgency to just get going.  I wanted off the Island of Manhattan. We decided that since the Brooklyn Bridge is the most famous bridge in New York City, it would likely be the first target if they wanted to cut us off from the rest of the boroughs – we weren’t taking chances.  We walked to the Manhattan Bridge (which also goes into Brooklyn) instead.

As we got to the foot of the bridge on the Manhattan side, we saw a throng of people running in our direction.  We found out later that the North Tower had fallen as well.

The Twin Towers were gone.

As we crossed the bridge, I kept looking back at the smoke coming from the spot where the towers used to be in disbelief.  Again, my thoughts were spoken aloud and I said to one of the guys “Wow, not to get all biblical or anything, but this reminds me of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.”  My friend responded “well, we don’t want you to turn into a pillar of salt, so stop looking back. Let’s go home.”

When we got to the other side of the bridge, we all breathed a sigh of relief and just sat there on the grass watching as more people poured into Brooklyn.  The folks in Brooklyn were passing out water. I bumped into the lady me and my other two friends had been waiting for inside our building.  I was relieved she had made it out. She took one look at my feet and said, “go into the store behind me and get yourself a pair of flip flops NOW.”  So, I did.  My shoes had given me a couple of very large blisters at the bottom of my feet. I was in pain (and probably in shock), but relieved to be out of the city.

Bay Ridge was clear on the other side of Brooklyn, and it would have taken me all day to get home if I had walked.  Luckily a nice gentleman was picking up folks and driving them as far as his daughter’s school, which was about fifty blocks away from where I lived.  I took the ride.  Then I got myself a cab.

I had managed thus far to keep myself together but as I turned the corner of my house (the cab had to let me off about five blocks away because there was traffic backed up to the Verrazano bridge which had been closed because of the day’s events, so I walked/ran the last five blocks), I started shaking. 

Once I was inside, I just slid down to the floor and let it all out. My roommate at the time, came out of her bedroom and said, “Thank God you’re okay. We’ve all been trying to reach you. Call your sister. She’s in a panic.”  Luckily, outgoing calls from landlines were working, so I was able to call my sister and let her know I was fine. With the exception of the message I’d left on my father’s home phone (which I later found out he hadn’t heard, having not been able to leave his office for two days – he was the President of a Livery Cab company at the time, and they were trying to find the drivers that had been dispatched Downtown that morning), I still hadn’t reached either of my parents.

After taking the longest shower ever, I still felt as though I had glass in my hair and down my back, and no matter how many times I bathed, I could still smell the contents of the big ball of smoke I had walked through. It took days for me to feel physically normal again.

For the next few days, I slept in the living room with the TV on. By day two I had it on PBS because that was the only station NOT airing continuous images of the Twin Towers.  I had to take sleeping pills to be able to sleep.  Loud noises scared me. 

I’m a pretty tough person, but for the first week or so after 9/11, I wasn’t me at all.

I went back to work the following week.  We were working out of offices in downtown Brooklyn.  Like I said, I worked for the Economic Development Corporation, and we were clearly going to be busy for a very long time to come.  They told everyone to take their time, come back when we were ready.  But I had to be around people who understood how I felt.  No one in my personal life did because they hadn’t actually been there.

A week after that, we were back Downtown. I can’t describe to you the odor or the sights.  There were national guardsmen walking the streets asking for ID to prove you had a reason to be below Canal Street.  I took to wearing my Work ID around my neck.

I was lucky, really.  I truly feel like I was blessed that day. I have a sense that maybe my grandfather, who had passed a couple of months earlier, was watching over me on that day, making sure I got home alright. He was notoriously late for everything. Maybe he was the one who made me miss that train.

I was also lucky in that while I knew a few of the people who perished (three firefighters), all my family and close friends managed to escape physically unscathed. Because of this, I was able to concentrate on the folks who did lose those close to them and on the work we had ahead of us.

I kept the outfit I wore that day for about 15 years. I even wore it a few times, when I felt I needed a little extra luck – because I felt it was my lucky outfit – it was what I was wearing on the day I made it home when so many didn’t. I wore those shoes too, for years. I repaired them over and over again, until, sadly, I had to retire them permanently in the summer of 2008. But for the seven years after 9/11/01, every time I’d wear them, I’d remember how they got me across the bridge on the scariest day of my life.

It’s been twenty years and my heart still races and I still tear up when I think of the devastation of that day. I’m fine in my day-to-day life. But each year, on 9/11, I allow myself to dwell – to remember every detail. Because while we all must move on, if only to honor those whose lives were cut short, we can never forget.

I know that so much has happened in the years since the towers fell. There have been weddings and divorces, births and deaths. I met and married a wonderful man and then he passed away. I have moved. I suffered through being unemployed during the last recession. My heart found itself expanded in ways I never knew possible with the births of my nephew and then my niece. I found love again, with another wonderful man. I found myself, happily, back at my old job – helping New York City bounce back from yet another nightmare – a global pandemic.

Life, for me, has moved on.

And each day, I marvel at the resiliency of the town I call ‘home,’ and the human soul that can reimagine itself, heal itself despite the scars, and move on.

There are so many different stories folks who managed to escape that day, physically unscathed, will tell. I can pretty much guarantee each one will contain two elements:

– Gratitude at having been lucky enough to get out of there alive and unhurt.

– The need to  never forget the ones who weren’t as lucky as we were.

I don’t know if I will repost this story in another five, ten, fifteen, however many, years. But, I know I will never forget the day I came home.

I am woman, hear me roar

Unpopular rant here, bear with me. I realize it’s going to be weird to hear this side of an argument from a ‘lefty-liberal’ like me.

I’m fed up with the ‘woke’ folks.

I’m a cisgender heterosexual white female.

I prefer the pronouns “She/Her.” I earned the right to be referred to as “Ms.” or “Mrs.” (but will smack you into tomorrow if you friggen ma’am me)

Why the hell should I be made to feel ashamed of any of that?

I respect everyone. Regardless of your preferred pronoun, who you love, color of your skin, religion – I respect other human beings and do my best to always see people the way they see themselves and the way they want to be seen.

But I have to draw a line when it comes to the, let’s say, “well intentioned” but wholly misguided efforts to foster inclusivity by actually excluding and shaming folks who are fine with their own personal lives as they are.

Today I was forwarded an article, with a link to a private school in NYC called Grace Church School. They have a policy that I find ridiculous and disrespectful and totally out of line that may or may not be in consideration by the larger NYC public school system.

Among other ‘woke’ ideas (ie: don’t refer to kids by their assigned gender, ie: “girls” or “boys” or ever refer to the class as a whole as ‘guys’ – something already implemented, apparently, in most DOE schools), there was something about how kids should be discouraged from referring to their parents by the terms “mom” or “dad.” Now, I’m not talking about the alarmist shit written in the article about this new policy (I mean it was in the NY Post, so obviously their rhetoric regarding the policy was going to be suspect, so I read the policy itself).

As per the verbiage in the policy, It’s not just that they don’t want teachers referring to the kids’ guardians as ‘mother’ and ‘father,’ they are instructed to discourage the kids themselves from calling their parents “mom” and “dad” because there might be kids in the classroom who don’t live with their biological or adoptive parents and therefore they may be offended. Listen, I get it. Some kids don’t live with parents. Some kids live in foster care of with other family members. But to discourage the kids who live with their parents, whose parents want to be called “mom” or “dad” from doing so, really?

WHAT THE EVER LOVING HELL are we teaching kids? And how the hell does this policy do anything other make kids who are blessed with parents feel guilty for having a mom and/or a dad, or two moms or two dads?

I’m sorry, but I don’t know any parent, be it a birth parent or an adoptive parent, who doesn’t love the sound of the word “mom” or “dad” coming out of their child’s mouth.

Oh and while we are at it, I understand that there’s a whole lot of work we need to do as a society to be more equitable – especially when it comes to race. But when my seven-year-old nephew is asking if he’s a bad person because he’s white – because of a new policy teaching “Black excellence/White Privilege” to first graders who haven’t even learned about slavery and this country’s reprehensible history, then the schools are failing in that mission. Don’t you think?

Isn’t the mission supposed to be that we are supposed to be equal, regardless of color of skin, ethnicity, or race? You really think that making a seven-year-old feel guilty for something he has no control over (the color of his skin) is somehow going to make it better for anyone?

That kid also happens to be Jewish – which means his ancestors had their own issues, like Tzar sanctioned pogroms where his ancestors were raped and murdered because they were Jewish, or more recently, the Holocaust where his great-grandfather’s entire family was wiped out because of their religion.

And don’t tell me it’s any better for Jews now, in this country. Sorry, I’ve seen the swastikas and heard the chants of “Jews will not replace us” on the Republican side, and the anti-Israeli sentiment on the far left of the Democratic side – we’ve got it pretty fucking bad ourselves. Should I be offended that no one is standing up for me or my kind or teaching the children of White Anglo Saxons Protestants or Catholics that they are evil because their ancestors likely benefitted from burning Jews at the stake for not wanting to convert?

I am incensed. Obviously.

You want to be ‘woke’ and make it easier for all of us to get along? Then don’t do it by making anyone feel bad for being who they are.

We are all human beings and the thing we need to teach our kids is to respect one another as human beings. To understand that some had it rougher, for generations, is fine. To teach them that historically, certain groups have been treated unfairly and continue to be treated unfairly, and that changes need to be made so that we can all be treated fairly, is absolutely necessary.

But what they’re doing now? That’s shameful and wrong. And it’s not doing anyone any good – regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, or religion. In fact, it’s downright harmful and won’t foster equality or inclusiveness. In fact, it’s more likely to further divide us as a nation.

End rant. If you’ve stayed with me this far, thanks.

The other night, as I watched NY Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez describe the harrowing events she went through on 1/6/2021, like most decent people, I was horrified.

I’ve often told someone that unless you were present for a traumatic event, you really can’t understand what the folks who were actually physically there, went through – what they felt – the trauma they will deal with for, likely, the rest of their lives.

Every time, I’ve described the events I went through on 9/11 to anyone who wasn’t there, folks would respond with “Oh, I know what you went through, I watched the whole thing on TV.”

No. No you don’t understand. Unless you were physically in downtown NYC that day, you may have felt fear, confusion and anger, but you really don’t have a clue what it felt like to not know whether you’re ever going to see your family again, to sleep in your bed, to see your front door. You just don’t know that feeling. You can’t grasp that fear, that gut wrenching, mind-numbing, absolute fear. You don’t really know what it’s like to have your instincts kick in. To, in the moment, not even realize how scared you actually are. Or, how after you’re safe, and are in a position to process everything you’ve experienced, realizing, “holy, shit, did I really go through all that? How the hell did I even get through it?”

You may have experienced fear for those you loved who may have been there, but you weren’t there. You don’t know what THAT felt like.

And that’s what I felt when I heard AOC speak her truth.

I have no idea what she went through that day. I watched, as most of us did, on TV, as an angry mob attacked the Capitol. I was shocked. I was angry. I was stupefied. And, yeah, I wanted their blood and the blood of anyone who gave them the idea they had any right to do that. But I have no idea how it felt to be inside that building, hiding, knowing with ever fiber of your body that if the wrong person got a hold of you, you very well may end up dead.

I remember after 9/11, the way the country came together – despite political affiliation or beliefs – how we were collectively in mourning – how we were collectively pissed off at the people who did this. And while the perpetrators of the attack were all dead, the folks that sent them there were not – and we wanted those mother fuckers really bad. We wanted them SO badly, we started two wars to try and find them – one under false pretenses, even. We killed the guy who sent those people there. We’ve captured the folks who helped in the planning of it. It’s been 20 years since 9/11 and we STILL haven’t ‘let it go’ – and we really shouldn’t. Because we were attacked. The country was traumatized. People are STILL mourning those they lost in those attacks.

“Never forget” is an apt sentiment when folks attack you.

So why should we forget what happened on 1/6/2021?

Why the hell should we ‘let it go’?

We shouldn’t. There was an act of sedition. An insurrection. An attempt to overthrow the very Democracy we all claim to hold so dear. And while only one of the folks who perpetrated this crime is dead, and many are in custody, why shouldn’t we go after the folks who sent them there?



How do you ‘unify’ a country by letting those who incited an insurrection off without any consequences? How do you ‘unify’ a country by letting people who incited an insurrection know that they could get away with it, giving them an opening to do it all again – this time with a leader who isn’t a complete moron at their helm.

If a member of your family, say, one you didn’t agree with, decided to rob your home, because they felt you had something they wanted and it was unfair to them that you, despite earning what you have, had whatever it is they didn’t have, if they, along with some of their friends, wrecked your car, smashed your windows busted down your doors, looking to steal what you worked so hard to earn, would you just ‘let it go’?

And if they then told you, they were encouraged to commit that crime, by say, the head of their branch of the family tree, and they got money for weapons and travel from another member of that branch, would you let those people go?

If people aren’t held accountable for their actions, they will simply do it again – and next time they could succeed. Not in just overrunning our democracy, but they actually could kill more than just one brain-washed, deranged, asshole who tried to climb through a window to get to Mike Pence, or Nancy Pelosi – to kill one or both of them – because she was told they were enemies of the President she loved so much she was willing to kill for him.

This is insanity. This idea that we should just ‘let it go.’ We didn’t ‘let it go’ when, long after she’d given up her position as Secretary of State, the senate tried Hillary Clinton for Benghazi – and then all but buried the news when their investigations concluded that neither she, nor the Obama administration, were at fault for what happened there.

We didn’t just ‘let it go’ when Charles Manson sent his deranged cult members to murder innocent people. That cult leader died in prison, and he never murdered anyone. But he incited the murderers – and he paid for that crime, as well he should have.

So please, miss me with the ‘let it go’ crap. Yes. This country is hurting. We need bold legislation and funding to get us through yet another post-Republican administration crisis – and we’ll have that. The Senate will just have to do something it hasn’t done in years – work. They’ll have to not take random ‘recesses’ only to be called back to vote in yet another conservative judge, pass $3 trillion tax breaks for the wealthy, or hold another Benghazi hearing. It’ll be a change for them, I’m sure. It’ll be hard, but the Democrats are in charge, and I’m guessing their itching to actually do something they haven’t been able to do since McConnell took over – work for the people they represent.

And the threats coming from the likes of Lindsay Graham like “the Democrats better not call witnesses or we’re going to call in the FBI”? Hysterical. Please, do. Call in the FBI. Call in the DOJ. Please let us hear what they have to say about how they’ve been telling you all for two years that White Supremacists and the Q-Anon crew were the biggest national threat to our security and how Trump’s rhetoric was egging them on and empowering them.

Please, let us hear ALL the pieces of shit who stormed the Capitol tell us how they were ‘invited by Trump,’ and how when Trump told them he’d ‘see them on January 6th – it’ll be wild,’ they knew there’d be some violence – and how when he told them to march on the Capitol and that he’d be right there with them because if they don’t fight, they’ll lose their country, after two months of hearing the big lie about how the election was stolen from them, an election, mind you, roughly a third of those assholes DIDN’T EVEN VOTE in – they took it as ‘storm the Capitol’ – because that’s EXACTLY what he meant. Please, let us hear them tell us how his expression of disappointment in Mike Pence, and his abject hatred of people like AOC and Pelosi, led them to believe they’d be rewarded by him if they got rid of those problems for him.

Those aren’t threats to those of us who want to see these assholes pay. They are only threats to those who know they’d be implicated in these crimes. Who knows what witnesses will say about not only Donald Trump, but Lindsay Graham (who called the Georgia Governor to try and get him to not certify that state’s votes), or Ted Cruz, or Josh Hawley?

So bring that shit on. But don’t tell us to ‘let it go.’ Everyone who had anything to do with the events on January 6, and all the lies they helped spread, should be held accountable. Whether it’s via legal action, or whether it’s via campaign ads where their words, and actions, can, and will be, used against them in the court of public opinion.

What happened on 1/6/2021 didn’t have to happen. But the people who made it happen need to pay for it. Once they do, maybe we will finally ‘let it go.’

I try not to get too personal on FaceBook, what with trolls and such.. Also, griping about my personal life is something I was taught a long time ago is just something one doesn’t do. But I have to speak up about this.
If you’re friends with me on FaceBook, or on Twitter, you would have noticed, that in as much as my political views skew left, I have been particularly vicious towards a conspiracy group called QAnon.
And yeah, they’re crazy. And yes, they love Trump. But that’s not the reason I actively, hate – yes, I said “hate” (another thing I was told was bad, but right now, I don’t care), everything about them.
And here’s why.
My now former childhood best friend.
I’ve known this person since I was 13.
She was 14 when we met, and didn’t know much about Jews or the Jewish way of life, or that there were as many different variations on practicing Judaism (or not practicing it all that much) as there are stars in the sky – Truly.
We grew up in one another’s homes. She was accepted as a member of the family – not just by my immediate family – but by my extended family as well. She used to call my grandmother “baptcha.” My sister, for the longest time, considered her a like a second older sister.
She used to ask me questions about rumors she’d heard about Jews, and their traditions. Having gone to Yeshiva, I considered myself quite the expert, and explained everything I could as best as I could.
We went through everything together. First loves, first heartbreaks, the ups and downs of HS, College and post college life. We were roommates for a couple of years. We used to joke about our weddings, who we’d marry, how our kids would grow up to be best friends like we were – all the stuff young girls and women talk about.
When I got married, she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. I flew her in from Texas (where she was living at the time) and bought her dress and paid for her hair and make-up because it was THAT important to me that she be a part of that day we both had dreamed of all our lives.
So, to find out that she joined this fucking cult killed me.
It broke my heart worse than any ex-boyfriend ever did.
You see, QAnon is drenched in Anti-Semetism. They believe in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – A series of theories, that has long been debunked, but that has been used, in various different forms as the justification for Anti-Semetism in one way or another, for centuries.
Ultimately, the Protocols state that the Jews were said to have made plans to disrupt Christian civilization and create a world they rule along side the Freemasons. Liberalism and socialism were the means they would use to do this, along with financially sabotaging all the capitals of Europe.
The combined Anti-Semetic theories were published in Russia in 1903 and printed and distributed in America by Henry Ford to justify what he knew was going on in Germany during WWII.
QAnon also believes in “Blood Libel.” It’s an old, also debunked, conspiracy theory that claims that Jews use the blood of Christians, particularly Christian children, in religious rituals, especially in the preparation of Passover Mazoh.
To hear, that after 36 years of friendship, she was so quick to embrace a group that believes in this shit, and proudly supports their anonymous leader, how could I not react the way I did?
I tried to talk to her. I really did. I tried to explain how hurtful it was that she’d believe some anonymous stranger’s lies over the truths she witnessed her whole life – but to no avail.
We did get childish – each of us posting passive-aggressive remarks about one another on our personal FaceBook pages. I guess my post about people who join cults only do so because they can’t face their own failures in life, really got to her because she ‘unfollowed’ me.
Funny enough, within a week of her unfollowing me, five different mutual friends, along with my mother, asked me what the hell was wrong with her. I couldn’t answer with the whole truth – that this person they knew for over thirty years, didn’t just go over the edge mentally, but she took a swan dive over to the dark side.
I realized, that had we grown up together in Poland back in the 1930s, had been best friends, to the point of considering one another family, she would have likely been first in line to report me to the Gestapo when they came to our town.
I’ve never been the type of person to exclaim that someone was ‘dead to me,’ But I guess there’s a first time for everything.
Truly speaking, if you believe even an ounce of what QAnon is shitting out into the world, I have nothing left to say to you. People like those leading and following QAnon are no different than all those Germans who had no problem turning Jews in to be slaughtered.
And if you’re a Jew who entertains the other parts of QAnon’s narrative, you’re no better than those Jews who were okay with Hitler because ‘he couldn’t be serious’ about his plans for the population of the Jews.
So yes, for the first time in my life I can honestly say I “hate” something. I don’t know what exactly it is I hate, because the person that started this movement is anonymous. I hate them for taking away my best friend.. or maybe I should thank them for showing me who this person really is.
Because how much of a friend could she have been if she could follow anything this cult believes in, knowing they believe this about people like me?

It’s Time We Talked

Do you ever wonder what would happen, if instead of racism, bigotry, homophobia, misogyny and anti-semitism, being the language we choose to emphasize, we all tried to actually hear one another?

I’ve experienced, or been witness to, all of the above. I’m a first generation American Jewish woman of Russian/Polish decent.

I have friends who I love dearly from every background I can think of. I come from a family who after a lifetime of suffering through systemic anti-semitism, was all but kicked out of their country of origin, simply because they were Jewish.

I grew up hearing stories from my grandfathers about their families, who in one day were all murdered by a hoard of swastika waiving pieces of shit who thought they were ‘superior’ because their ‘leader’ told them they were.

My ‘privileged’ life was at the expense of my mother coming to a new country at the age of 21, learning what to her was a foreign language – English- and working three jobs while going to school, so her kids could want for nothing. She had to forgo many of the hopes and dreams she had for her life, so that I and my sister could live the lives we are living now. She dealt with xenophobia, anti-semetism, sexism and God knows what else, and she still works her ass off past the age where she should be enjoying her retirement because she spent every penny she ever made on making sure we had everything we both needed AND wanted. My ‘privilege’ comes from my mother being a badass and from her doing her best to instill those values in me and my sister. She would always tell us that no one is going to give us anything in this world. Not men, not strangers not anyone else. We have to do it ourselves.

And yes, I understand that the color of my skin may have helped me in some situations, like getting out of a traffic stop without being arrested or murdered. But I am a 40+ year old woman living in a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend and his son. We aren’t rich, we aren’t poor. We are in that spot folks don’t even think about. The middle class. We can survive – if we stay employed. But if we miss more than one paycheck, we are screwed. My skin color won’t help me. I’ll lose my health benefits, my ability to buy food and pay my rent. But that’s beside the point of this post.

Both my grandfathers lost everyone they loved practically over night, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and younger siblings – all murdered, and for what? Because of their religion.

My grandfathers managed to build lives for themselves, sure. But they both carried their pain and trauma to their deathbeds. No one on either side of my family could get full stories about their experiences because neither one of those strong, charismatic, loving, men, could get through their stories without crying and reliving the pain of that loss and the horror they suffered.

I know the history of my people, and as far back as biblical times, my people were held as slaves, tortured and murdered for refusing to convert from the religion they followed, and to this day are still seen by a huge swath of humanity as subhuman and scapegoats for all the ills of the world.

And that’s just the ‘being Jewish’ part of my experience.

Then there’s my gender.

As a woman, I’ve been condescended to, underestimated and treated as if my opinion was irrelevant because apparently having a vagina makes me less capable of forming coherent thoughts.

I’ve had my body scrutinized, touched inappropriately, and legislated by men who genuinely believed their rights are greater than mine simply because they were born with penises and I wasn’t.

And yet, I’m proud of my heritage, because despite over 2000 years of people trying to kill us off, my people have become resilient and strong.

I’m proud of being a woman because without women, humanity wouldn’t exist.

I know there are people who aren’t Jewish and aren’t female who are allies and who don’t believe all Jews need to be wiped off the planet and don’t believe that all women need shut up, push out babies, and cater to the needs of all men.

I don’t say this to diminish anything any other race, religion or orientation has been going through.

I do this to point out that there are so many experiences that unite us. And, that while our differences, whether it’s the color of our skin, religious or ethnic background, or sexual orientation may not be identical, the people who want us to continue to focus on all those differences are the ones who benefit the most from using those differences against us.

If you are black, brown, gay, straight, transgender, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, or in any way, not whatever they consider ‘normal,’ the people who benefit from using whatever they see as ‘different,’ want you to focus solely on all our differences because they know that if we do that, they stay in power.

I had a conversation yesterday with someone who I love dearly. This person works with underprivileged children and is probably one of the most open hearted people I know. And to paraphrase this persons words:

‘I am tired of being lumped in with racists and I am tired of being lumped in with a small group of extremists (Hasidic Jews). I’m tired of, after doing everything I can, be it spend extra time with other people’s kids, away from my own children, to make sure they understand their school work, or bring food for them, buy them their school supplies with money I barely have myself, only to have their parents spit on me and call me a ‘racist’ or a ‘Jewish bitch’ for things I can’t control.’

Hearing that hurt.

What also hurt me is knowing countless friends who have been stopped and harassed by police because of the color of their skin – stops I have witnessed personally, and others that I’ve heard of anecdotally.

Stories of my LGBTQ friends being beaten or fired from jobs because of their sexual orientation.

Or the women in my life, including myself, dealing with any form of sexual discrimination, and assault.

Or more recently, Asian friends and their families being physically and financially harmed because of a virus, the spread of which they had nothing to do with.

Maybe this isn’t the time to have this discussion. Or, maybe this IS the exact time to have it. I don’t know.

But I keep coming back to this notion that all this division isn’t going to help us progress as human beings. Not when the real minority in this country is so hell bent on keeping us divided. Because they know that if we actually did the unthinkable and united, with all our shared trauma and experiences being the catalyst, we can actually all thrive as nation and as a people and they’d be assed out of their undeserved lofty positions.

There will always be those who want to keep us at one another’s throats. Because if we are busy pointing fingers at each other, we aren’t paying attention to what they’re doing behind our backs.

You only need to look at who is out there protesting to know there are more of us than there are them.

So, the next time someone shows themselves to be an ally, instead of asking ‘what have you done for me lately,’ hear them out. Really pay attention to what they do in their day to day lives. Stop focusing on how much better their lives may appear to you, because no one knows the experiences of others. Most of what you think you know can very well be an assumption. And we ALL are guilty of that.

Most people will make an assumption about another person simply because of the color of their skin, their gender, their ethnic background at first glance. Once that assumption is made, even after knowing that person for years, there is always a nagging distrust that lingers in the back of your head, that harbors a tiny seed of distrust. It festers until tensions run high and can destroy any progress you make with another person.

We all need to be making a conscious effort to do better.

So be careful. Be mindful. Try to really listen instead of assuming that someone will live up to the worst thing you thought of them when you first met. You may find yourself surprised to know that despite all your differences, you are more alike than you may have ever dreamed of.

I am hopeful, yet trying to be realistic, that one day, maybe not in my lifetime, our little corner of the world can truly be ‘United.’